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Where can I find an accurate depiction (drawing or digital depiction) of Shlomo HaMelech's throne?

(Or, an easy to understand description of it.)

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  • a google search turns up many results, but i am looking for one that is reputable from Jewish sources.
    – The Targum
    Jun 15, 2023 at 19:33

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In Melachim 10:19, the throne of Shlomo HaMelech is described thoroughly. The posukim read:

Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were arm rests on either side on the seat, and two lions stood beside the arm rests. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.

Rashi explains the description of the throne's objects, and how it looked like.

זָהָב מוּפָז - Glittering gold: Sparkling like pearls.

שֵׁשׁ מַעֲלוֹת: Steps by which to go up [to it], and the top of the throne, was circular, where the king sits.

מֵאַחֲרָיו: The throne was wide, and the steps were to the front and to the width, to the back was the seat, higher than the throne, was a round place

וְיָדֹת מִזֶּה וּמִזֶּה: arm rests: On which to support his arms, like two gold rails from end to end, extending on the right and on the left.

וּשְׁנַיִם אֲרָיוֹת: Two lions: Of gold. The entire plan of the throne is described in the Aggadah of Megillas Esther.

Metzudos Dovid:

A circular dome protruded from above the throne above the king’s head

The objects of the throne were made from gold, since gold was most valuable and nothing invaluable was used for the throne (Rashi, ad loc.).

Rabbi Nissan Mendel describes the throne of Shlomo HaMelech as:

the most wonderful throne that any king ever sat upon. It was fashioned of ivory and covered with gold. It was set with rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and other precious stones that shone with the most brilliant, the most dazzling, the most fascinating hues and colors.

enter image description here (picture taken from here). I've searched some seforim, but could not find any images unfortunately.

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There is a beautiful description brought down in the 5th Volume of Rabbi Jelinek's Beis Hamidrash (which contains a series of smaller midrashim etc.) where he details how his earthly throne resembled that of the Kisei HaKavod. Some takeaways are as follows:

  • Just as the throne of the heavenly realm had the image of four things; a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle, so too, Shlomo's throne had the image of a man, lion, ox and eagle.

  • R' Chiya taught, as it resembled the Kisei Hakavod, Shlomo made it with ruach hakodesh with the image of galgalim and keruvim on the back and the image of chayos and ofanim (all different levels of angels) on the front.

  • It was engraved with animals and birds, the tamei (impure) facing the tahor (pure) and a man facing a demon to demonstrate how in the future "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb (Yeshaya 11:6).

  • Shlomo was able to ascend the throne three ways each of which had six steps - see also Esther Rabbah 1:12 for the symbolism of the six steps and what was recited as he took each step. This is also mentioned in Devarim Rabbah 5:6

The Targum Sheini on Megillas Esther is also very extensive in it description of the throne:

  • It was set with several precious stones (also mentioned in Beis Hamidrash)
  • 12 gold lions stood on it facing 12 gold eagles
  • A gold candelabrum was positioned above the throne, upon which was a jug of olive oil for lighting the Menorah in the Beis Hamikdash
  • It included gold seats for the Kohen Gadol and his assistants and 70(!) gold seats upon which the Sanhedrin sat and ruled in front of Shlomo HaMelech.
  • It was mechanised - as he ascended the throne he would put his foot on the first step and the gold ox would take him up, and when he reached the sixth step, gold eagles came down, picked him up and sat him on the throne.
  • If false witnesses approached the king, the animals would roar frightening them into telling the truth.
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  • +1 but I have to say that this is probably the first time I've seen someone refer to Aharon Jellinek as 'rabbi'. I googled and yes, it seems he did have some form of rabbinical ordination, though his views were somewhere between Orthodox and Reform, and he is mostly known for being a key figure in the Haskalah movement.
    – Harel13
    Jun 16, 2023 at 12:31
  • @Harel13 - Thanks for the background. I saw him mentioned in a couple of sources so I thought it was a reputable. I can delete if you feel it is not appropriate.
    – Dov
    Jun 16, 2023 at 12:33
  • I don't know if it's appropriate or not, I was just a bit surprised. On this note, Maskilim and, later, 20th century scholars often referred to one another as R' and even sometimes as Ha'Rav, even if they didn't have semicha. Sometimes they had ordination from Reform or Conservative. I find it to be a bit jarring. But some of them did in fact have semicha.
    – Harel13
    Jun 16, 2023 at 12:39
  • Interesting its bizarre because I have seen reputable seforim bringing mekoros quoting his Beis Hamidrash series so as a work it must be somewhat reliable?
    – Dov
    Jun 16, 2023 at 12:46
  • Yes, quite a few works quote his series. It's possible some didn't really know who he was, but I think it's more likely that they recognized the quality of his work and the importance of books that publish manuscripts. I've seen this to be the case in other publications of manuscripts and critical editions. I don't doubt that his and others' works are reliable (at least in general; last week I discovered to my horror that the Buber Eicha Rabbah edition is very deeply flawed).
    – Harel13
    Jun 16, 2023 at 14:01

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